Negotiating the Purchase Offer: Price Does Matter

Negotiating the Purchase Offer: Price Does Matter

Price does matter when negotiating the purchase offer.  Consider this scenario: The offer came in.  You are jumping up and down celebrating the sale of your home.  The first thing you look for in all the legal mumbo jumbo is the line that specifies the offer price.  You find the line with the price.  The offer is……………low.  Real low.  Lower than any sales price you ever considered for your home.


Windy Court Tucker GA 30084How could they offer such a pitiful price!

That is a lowball offer!  They are bottom fishing!

That is an insulting offer.

We paid more than that when we bought the house ten years ago.

The tax appraisal is higher than that offer.

There is no way I would even consider working with these idiots.

These people are wasting my time.  I am not even going to make a counteroffer.

Those mother*^&#%@*$!%

These and many more comments came from my sellers BEFORE we successfully negotiated and CLOSED offers to purchase their homes.


Chill.  If the offer is low take some time to separate your emotional feelsing from the BUSINESS transaction at hand.  Go do something that will take your mind off the offer.  Go shopping, go play golf, work out, take a walk.  Anything to give yourself a chance to calm down.  Then we can reasonably, I said reasonably, evaluate the offer price.

How much are they offering for the home? 

Is it a reasonable price?  Does the sales price meet my financial needs for paying off mortgage loans and purchasing a new residence? 

CALCULATE the Net Price

Windy Court Tucker GA 30084Even though the sales price is payment for the home, think if it only as a gross price for your transaction.  You need to prepare a seller’s net sheet that lists all your expenses of the sale so you can determine how much money you will walk away with after the transaction is complete.  Most Realtors include this as a part of their service.

OK, now put the price part of the equation aside for a few minutes.


The majority of purchase offers are made on forms prepared by The Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR).  These standard contract forms allow realtors and attorneys to quickly determine if anything is out of the ordinary in the purchase offer. 

If you receive a contract on a non-standard form, or if you are not familiar with the mechanics of a purchase offer and are going it on your own, you should consult an attorney who specializes in real estate and have them review the contract offer. 

A few hundred dollars spent in prevention could help you avoid many thousands of dollars in unexpected costs you may obligate yourself to in a contract you do not understand.


Once you have carefully read and understand the entire contract, you are ready to make a decision about the offer.  Reading the entire contract is critical. 

See previous blog post: Negotiating the Purchase Offer: Price is not all that Matters for Sellers

Find a quite place and wade through the legal jargon.  If you run across something you don’t understand, make sure to ask questions. 

CHOICE Number one: Accept the Offer “As Is” 

Your three choices are to accept the offer as it is written (very rare these days, but it does still happen), decline the offer or just ignore it, or to make a counteroffer.  A counteroffer is nothing more than a new contract offer that the seller has initiated. 

CHOICE Number two: Make A Counteroffer 

Counteroffers should be made in writing with a specific period of time in which they are open for acceptance.  Most offer a period of 24 to 48 hours after receipt for review and acceptance of a counteroffer.  

You are not required to make a counteroffer, but it may be a good way to educate a buyer as to what items are important to you in the negotiation.  Many buyers anticipate a counteroffer and will not make their best offer on the first go around.

My main piece of advice on negotiating an offer is to be flexible.  This is not the time to be overly controlling.  Try to understand what is important to your buyer and see what you can do to make those things possible. 

Choice Number three: Walk Away

I have counseled my sellers to make this very decision when it was apparent the prospective buyer was not acting in good faith.  Not my favorite tactic but it is sometimes acceptable.

BUSINESS Transaction: Put Emotions On Hold 

Windy Court Tucker GA 30084Don’t let hurt feelings about a minor issue taint the whole process.  While it is a business decision, the negotiation does not have to be a “take no prisoners” battle between buyer and seller.  Cooperative, win/win negotiating will get you a lot closer to where you ultimately want to be than a stubborn, warlike approach. 

Understand your own limitations and do not be afraid to communicate with the other party about the areas where you have no room to give.  Treat the other party with respect, and they are likely to do the same with you. 

COMMUNICATION Trumps Negotiating Games

Playing games in a negotiation is counter productive in most instances.  Let your buyer know why you can;t accept a lower price.  Give them some comparable sales to consider.  Advise them of key difference between your home and the house on the street that sold for a lowball price.  Tell them why you can’t give up possession in two weeks.  Most buyers readily work to accommodate valid reasons for not accepting their first offer. 

When you get to a bottom line point in the negotiations, communicate that to the buyer.  Some buyers need a “foundation” to work on.  They have to hear “no” before they feel they have struck their best deal.

SALLY ENGLISH and The English Team

SALLY ENGLISH and The English Team are experienced real estate negotiators.  We specialize in homes convenient to Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control.  Call us at 770-939-3174 or email to get started buying or selling your Atlanta Georgia home.